But having read The ADHD Effect on Marriage as I imagine a lot of you have, I felt like someone was inside of my head, writing a book about my life. I guess right now, I'm just processing the best way I know how (written).
I met my wife of 10+ years in college through a mutual friend. In retrospect, she hyperfocused on me but I was engrossed in my studies (high GPA engineering student, very driven, successful). The hyperfocus was lessend because she was passionate about her degree (vocal performance) and still is an excellent vocalist. We also were long distance friends at first. Started dating later. We dated for over 8 months before we got engaged and we are extremely compatible as far as religion, family, upbringing, etc. We are both Christian, we were both home schooled, but both really got out in the world and avoided being sheltered. We love each other very much even now. Even writing this reminds me that we are SO right for each other, but ADHD brings in a profound level of difficulty.
I am neurotypical, my wife has ADHD. I am the sole income earner. We have 3 children (almost 6, and twins, almost 2) She sought out testing and received her diagnosis in the Spring of 2021.
Looking back now, I see the footprints of ADHD all over our marriage and I hope and pray our biggest issues aren't permanent. From what I can gather, her ADHD is mild to moderate. She does many things very well (shopping, scheduling appointments for the children, managing meals). She has learned to do some things well that she initially did very poorly (finances). When we first got married, I worked for a toxic and abusive employer who also required that I travel a lot. When I went out ot town, she would cope by impulsively spending. She spent $400 on shoes at one point, when my take home pay after typical employer deductions was slightly less than $3000/month. At that point, I had it out with her, not in anger, I very calmly explained that I was bitter, hopeless, and didn't see us ever having a financial future if she was going to continue to selfishly spend our money on things that we didn't agree on or need. The very next day, she cut up her debit card and voluntarily placed herself on an all cash system with envelopes for various expenditure categories. I kid you not, it was like a light switch for that facet of our relationship. Over time, I was promoted, changed jobs, drastically increased our income, and I don't worry about impulsive spending so much. WIth COVID and online shopping, she hasn't stayed the course on the envelope system, but it really hasn't mattered. She has learned to largely avoid impulsive shopping.
Another thing that just recently occurred to me about our early engagement/marriage days was that we acquired a dog. The WAY in which we acquired this dog was that before we were married, still living about 5 hours apart, dating long distance, I got a call one day:
Her: "Guess what?"
Me, suspicious already: "What?"
Her: "We have a dog!"
I was not pleased, not because I didn't want a dog eventually, not because I'm not a dog person, but because it was the typical (unknown to me at the time though) ADHD script. Impulsive action, no consideration of others, etc. I love him now, and he's closer to me than almost anyone, but at the time, she could barely even grasp why I would be upset that I was completely excluded from the decision-making process. It also fell to me to potty train him, wake with him, discipline him, all the typical stuff that wasn't fun and dopamine-inducing.
The things that she does poorly are (as you might expect) the major rub in our relationship. I guess when I really stop and boil it down, it's just a couple of things. She sleeps late. Not occasionally, not on the weekends, every. Single. Day. Even if she has an appointment that takes her out of the house early like dropping the kids off at school, she will get back into bed and be there until 11:30 or later. She also takes leisurely (hour+) baths every day while scrolling social media (which is absolutely a 4 to 6 hour a day addiction for her).
The advent of COVID and mandatory telework in my job has turned my life into absolute, unmitigated hell. I wake up at 7 to start meetings and my day. She will wake up and feed OR change the twins, but rarely if ever both, and then go back to bed. The kids want to be fed and/or changed, and to start their day on a "normal" person's schedule, which leaves me managing all 3 kids from 7 AM until 1-2 PM when she is FINALLY awake, bathed, dressed, and beginning to operate. By that time, my work day is 3/4 over and I'm positively seething with the anger and stress of feeling like a single, working parent for 6-7 hours of every day. Even as we have transitioned out of 100% telework status and I leave the house at 6:30, I can still recognize the signs of her sleeping late in the children. They are cranky and starved for adult interaction, watching too much TV, and when I walk through the door, they pounce on someone who will have meaningful conversations with them and then I'm "on shift" until everyone is in bed asleep, because that's how modern, egalitarian relationships are supposed to work. Except that I know that on days when I'm working away from home, getting home at 4-5 PM, she's spending a maximum of 3-4 hours meaningfully interacting because she's slept until 1-2 PM, because that's what she always does. We are going to a hybrid format where we will work 4 10s as well has have 2 days a week which are optional telework. I actually dread this. It means I will be spending 5 days in a row in this situation. Monday-Tuesday will be mandatory on-site days for me, followed by optional telework Wednesday-Thursday, and a 3 day weekend. Sounds great, until you consider that none of these days are "off" days for me, or even days when I can rely on my partner to spell me in the morning. I will be the one out of bed first. Every. Single. Day.
"Vacations" likewise are miserable. If I take time off, whether we stay home or we go somewhere, I NEVER get rest. It's the same waking and sleeping schedule for me regardless. This also affects my rest on the back end of the day because as you may gather, sleeping until 1-2 PM every day means that she stays up late, and her most desirable times to be productive are when I'm trying to go to sleep. It's not unusual for me to be in bed by 10 PM, out cold by 10:30, only to get awoken at 2 AM by her bedtime routine.
Even just writing this makes me know that eventually we're going to have to seek or find help to fix this issue, because it has affected so many facets of our marriage.
I have despaired of doing anything that requires an early start to the day (big day trips to do fun things),
I deal with daily anger, resentment, and stress.
It's not fair to our kids that they essentially have to fend for themselves until the early afternoon every day.
It doesn't model behavior for the kids that will be expected of them throughout their adult lives in order to function in society.
It has not always been this way either. Even before she received a diagnosis and started medication, she would go through LONG periods of waking up between 9 and 10 and keeping a normal schedule. What I don't think she realizes is it affects every facet of her day, because she's immediately behind by 6-7 hours and spends the rest of the day chasing...the day. Or maybe she does.
Again, I don't even know what I'm looking for here, just trying to process.